Whenever I mention New Caledonia to someone, they invariably ask, “where is that?” Known as “the world’s largest lagoon,” and enchantingly beautiful in so many ways, I think it’s been a conspiracy to place it under wraps so that less tourists can keep this gorgeous South Pacific retreat to themselves!
Located in the heart of the South Pacific, 1500 kilometres from Australia and 1700 kilometres from New Zealand, New Caledonia is a large archipelago that is over 500 kilometres in length, principally composed of the mainland, Isle of Pines and the Loyalty Islands. It is surrounded by a huge coral reef, which is the main reason that most of the people that are familiar with this gorgeous part of the world are divers. Native flora and fauna are protected in vast natural reserves and the marine environment is truly blessed with beautiful and diverse underwater scenery. Many travelers to the mainland will hop on a plane and visit Ile des Pins (Pine Island) with its exquisite landscapes both on land and sea.
New Caledonia belongs to France, so the main language spoken is French (with 30 Melanesian dialects) and the money used is the Pacific franc. There are some 230,000 inhabitants of Melanesian, European, Polynesian and Asian origin. Tontouta international airport is located around a 45 minute drive from the capital city of Noumea. Electricity is 220 volts, and the tap water is safe to drink!